A PARTNERSHIP at a Poole fishery achieved a world first with a Poole fishery receiving dual recognition for maintaining responsible standards while caring for the marine environment.

Fourteen vessels, which all work the clam and cockle fishery, are now certified through the responsible fishing scheme (RFS).

The industry-agreed best practice accreditation for skippers and their vessels comes after joint work with Dorset Wildlife Trust, Poole & District Fisherman’s Association (PDFA) and Southern Inshore Fishery & Conservation Authority (IFCA), alongside funding from Resource Legacy Fund and Seafish.

The fishery was also recently given certification by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which scrutinises the fishery for environmental sustainability.

Tommy Russell, chairman of the PDFA and a clam and cockle fisherman, said: “The partnership has developed a real sense of pride for us all in showing that conservation is a high consideration within the fishing community in Poole.

"The clam and cockle fishery is the first MSC certified sustainable fishery in Dorset and it is also the first time both MSC and RFS have been awarded to a single fishery globally."

The MSC blue fish-tick label offers buyers recognition that the shellfish has been caught sustainably, providing traceability from sea to plate.

Rob Clark, Southern IFCA’s chief officer, said the partnership was important to securing the status.

“The role of Dorset Wildlife Trust has been really important," he said.

"The Trust have actively engaged with the development of management and it is a natural progression, that through the partnership, they have supported fishers in gaining recognition for the progress that has been made in developing a sustainable fishery.”

Emma Rance, marine conservation officer for DWT, added: “This is a fantastic opportunity to show how fishermen are working conscientiously to help protect seabed habitats and wildlife.

"The project has improved dialogue, encouraging the sharing of marine sightings data and resulted in some great working relations.”